Euro 2012: Fans get chance to pray for win with a special Mass in English
How thoughtful of the local parish in Poznan to lay on a Mass in English at 12.30 on Sunday, giving Irish fans just enough time to shake off the hangover.
Bravely overcoming the language barrier with the local PP, the Irish Independent yesterday confirmed that Mass at the Fara Church will be in English . . . but not the confessions.
So, to those of you travelling over: less of your boldness, it'll be a few weeks before you're granted absolution.
And a book provided by town bigwigs also has an easy map to the "worship zone", so there's no excuse for missing the sermon.
Not that Gerard Connolly (22) from Belfast has any such notions. He chastised his friends for dismissing the Mass plan out of hand.
"Can you not go and at least pray for a good result?" he pleaded with his pals Gavin Corbett, Gary Donaldson, Tom McBride, Aidan O'Reilly and Ryan McAuley, all from Belfast.
"Gerard'll get Mass, he's a good Catholic," said Ryan.
The lads reckon they were the first fans in Poznan, having arrived on Sunday after using that well-known slush fund to bankroll the trip: the student loan, which of course is supposed to cover books and such, not flights to Poland and beer.
Four of them get grants of €1,100 throughout the college year, and some diverted the last tranche to the Euros fund.
"I'm going to Australia so I'm not paying it back!" said Aidan. "They can chase it but they'll never get it."
Slowly but surely, the Irish are becoming more visible in Poznan. Buses carrying fans from Warsaw arrived last night, although the campsites have yet to open and the camper vans are still to arrive.
Local businesses are capitalising on the influx of Paddies, with Irish bars getting suspiciously "repainted" when it actually looks like they're springing up with the speed of a tent in one of the camps.
Barman Piotr Skorubski (25) insisted Tanner's bar was established seven months ago when the owner, who was a partner in another Irish bar, Brogan's, fell out with his co-owner and decided to set up his own shop.
You can't get more Irish than good old-fashioned row over a pub, so we'll give him a free pass on that one.
Although the fella painting "Irish pub" over the door and the fresh signs imploring customers to "get wasted" and advising "we do not serve women -- bring your own", as well as the roadsign to glamorous Tallanstown Mount (it's in Louth), might perhaps make you change your mind on that one.
Not that Ruaidhri Cullen (26) and John Doocey (26), from Sligo and Mayo originally but living in Leeds, and their drinking partner John Brennan (65) from Dublin, cared too much.
Impressed by the friendliness of locals, they've figured out the key to the heart of Poznan's populace. "Just tell them you hate the English, the Germans and the Russians, and you'll be grand," said John Doocey.
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